Austrian Cardinal Hans Gröer Dies

Pope Expresses Sympathy at Death of Archbishop Emeritus of Vienna

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a message of sympathy on learning of the death of Cardinal Hans Hermann Gröer. The archbishop emeritus of Vienna died Sunday night at age 83.



He died of pneumonia in the hospital in Sankt Polten, Austria.

The Pope sent his message of sympathy to the archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, in which he recalls Gröer's ministry as head of the archdiocese and the years in which he presided over the Austrian episcopal conference.

The Holy Father assured his prayers for Cardinal Gröer "with the hope that the Lord has reserved for him the recompense that he himself assures his faithful servants."

Born in Vienna in 1919, and ordained a priest in 1942, Hans Gröer belonged to the Benedictine order.

Named archbishop of Vienna in 1986, he was made a cardinal by John Paul II in 1988.

He presented his resignation to the Pope on Sept. 14, 1995, after students accused him of harassment that they said he committed in the 1970s. The cardinal always publicly denied the accusations.

Since then, he lived in retirement in a Benedictine monastery.

"Beyond the shadows, at the time of farewell the merits of the priest and bishop must be recalled," Cardinal Schönborn said today, when expressing his sympathy on the death of his predecessor.

With Hans Gröer's death, the College of Cardinals now has 170 members, including 112 electors who could vote in a conclave for a new pope.